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A Virtual Sketching Tour of Paris

Apr 16, 2020

Paris is many things to many people – for me, it’s the one city I have visited the most, and remains a wonderful city to wander around with many unique attractions, like the Eiffel Tower and Pere Lachaise cemetery. But today, I’d like to take you on a Virtual Tour of some of my favourite museums and end with a sketching tour of Montmartre.

Virtual Tour of my favourite museums and a sketching tour of Montmartre:

We’re going to get off the Metro at Concorde, skip the huge line-ups Louvre because we’re much bigger fans of the Impressionists, and head on over to the Orangerie where you can visit the Nympheas of Monet. He painted the waterlilies in these two oval rooms between 1915 and 1926. You can visit them here.

After time well spent, we’ll head outside and take a look at the Place de la Concorde where we can sketch an Egyptian obelisk as well as some very fetching fountains. Then we’ll head across the Seine, wave at the Bateaux Mouches, and walk over to the Musee d’Orsay to continue our look at the Impressionists.  This converted train station holds many kinds of art from 1847 to 1914 and you can explore the collection at the Museum by visiting this link.  Take some time to sketch the wonderful statues all down the main gallery and to say hello to the Polar Bear statue, one of my personal favourites.

Full of art, we’ll hop on the Metro once again at the Assemble National, take Ligne 12 to the Abbesses stop, and walk Montmartre all the way to the stunning Sacre Coeur. Take a pause every so often to sketch cool buildings you spot, but keep an eye out for pickpockets! After such a busy day, it’s time to have a meal and a libation of your choice as the sun sets on the City of Lights. If you stay late enough, you might be able to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle each hour!

For more Paris from home, here’s a small selection of the many books set in Paris that you can borrow:

Paris the novel by Edward Rutherfurd: A dazzling epic portrait of Paris that leaps through centuries as it weaves the tales of families whose fates are forever entwined with the City of Lights.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain:  See the highs and lows of 1920s Paris through the eyes of Hadley Hemmingway, Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife.

Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco:  Memoirs of Montparnasse is a delicious book about being young, restless, reckless, and without cares. It is also the best and liveliest of the many chronicles of 1920s Paris and the exploits of the lost generation.

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard:  Peppered with mouth-watering recipes for summer ratatouille, swordfish tartare and molten chocolate cakes, Lunch in Paris is a story of falling in love, redefining success and discovering what it truly means to be at home.

And if you want a more hands on approach to Paris, here are some books on food and drawing:

My Paris Kitchen by David Leibovitz:  A collection of stories and 100 sweet and savory French-inspired recipes from Chez Panisse pastry chef turned popular food blogger David Lebovitz, reflecting the way modern Parisians eat today and featuring lush photography taken around Paris and in David's Parisian kitchen.

Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah: A lifelong foodie and Francophile, Ann immediately begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a year-long post--alone. Suddenly, Ann's vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light is turned upside down and she must find a life for herself in a new city.

Tasting Paris: 100 Recipes to Eat Like A Local by Clotilde Dusoulier:  Features 100 new and classic French recipes and cooking techniques that will demystify the art of French cooking and transport your dinner guests to Paris.

Pencil Art Workshop by Matt Rota:  In Pencil Art Workshop, artist and illustrator Matt Rota shows to achieve various techniques using graphite, and includes the work of an international gallery of artists for inspiration

If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint by Diane Culhane: The advice and exercises in “If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint” help readers dig into their creative life to find a style that is authentically theirs

You should also take a look at the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, the local chapter of the Urban Sketching movement which is open to everyone of all skill levels. They host free meet-ups for sketching and remain active despite social distancing. Find their blog here and their Facebook page here.

Blog post contributed by Jessica from our Main branch.